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Color-Extend Hair Products: How Much Do They Really Do?

Color-extend hair products are always making promises – Strong color protection! More vibrant color!

Sound familiar?

But if you’ve invested your hard-earned money in an expensive dye job, it’s important to know that the color-extend hair products you purchase live up to the hype.

We decided to investigate how helpful color-depositing conditioners are for extending the life of your new style – and how you can prevent your color from fading before your next appointment:

Color-Depositing Conditioners 101

These deep-conditioning treatments are chock-full of nutrients dyed hair needs to revive shocked strands back from the dead.

Color-depositing conditioners can help you even out the color and tone of your dye job, says beauty editor Marianne Mychaskiw.

“Used once a week in place of your go-to conditioner, a color-depositing formula can help to revive the color lost to the elements, and buy you some serious time between appointments,” Mychaskiw writes at InStyle.

“These conditioners are infused with pigments that either help amplify your shade, or neutralize unwanted brassy tones,” she adds.

Whether you’ve gone bottle blonde or bold black, color-depositing conditioners will prevent roots from showing before their time and help your hair look and feel more even-keeled during that crucial post-dye adjustment period.

Non-Depositing Shampoos Work, Too

Although they don’t have the pigmentation of color-depositing conditioners, non-depositing shampoos still offer benefits for recently dyed hair.

According to Good Housekeeping, these “products…seal the cuticle of the hair so it better holds on to the dye you already have” and also help you “protect against UV fade.”

After product testing more than 24 color extend shampoos and conditioners, including mainstays like Redken Color Extend, for more than 500 hours on 220 samples of human hair, the great minds at Good Housekeeping gave non-depositing shampoos a thumbs up.

Still, if you want to keep your color around for as long as possible, it’s probably best to minimize the time you spend sudsing up your hair.

“If there’s one thing just about every colorist will agree on, it’s that washing your hair frequently does more harm than good,” writes Alexandra Duron at Prevention.

“The detergents meant to get grime off your scalp cause color to fade faster,” she adds.

Try shampooing every two days with a color-depositing formula and switching to dry shampoo if you need a pick-me-up after the gym or before a work event.

Color-Enhancing Glazes Offer an Extra Boost

In addition to color-friendly products for the shower, many stylists recommend using color-enhancing glazes to help extend the life of your hair.

“Unlike a gloss, a glaze does not contain peroxide or ammonia,” explains Samantha Faragalli at InStyle.

“They are incapable of depositing or lifting color from the hair cuticle, making them even more temporary than a gloss,” she adds.

While a color gloss might help you amp up the wattage on your hair, the harmful ammonias will strip already-delicate dyed strands – unless you already have blonde hair.

According to Faragalli, glosses are perfect “if you need to fill porosity and are looking to maintain the current color you have.”

Chat with your hair stylist to find out which product works best for your hair’s needs.

Fade into You

By taking a few protective measures, you can ensure your dye job sticks around for the full 4 to 6 weeks.

Here are six expert tips for maintaining color and infusing life back into your tresses:

1. Press Pause on Shampoo

Okay, don’t press pause forever. But you should definitely take it easy, especially in the first few days after your appointment.

“After having your hair colored, wait a full 72 hours before shampooing,” stylist Eva Scrivo told Good Housekeeping.

“It takes up to three days for the cuticle layer to fully close, which traps the color molecule, allowing for longer lasting hair color,” she explained.

If you don’t yet use a sulfate-free shampoo, consider making the switch to protect your color.

“If you have chemically treated hair, you’ll especially want to steer clear of the drying formulas [in sulfate shampoos],” writes Alexis Bennett at InStyle.

“Besides stripping hair follicles of essential oils, sulfate shampoos can also cause untamable frizz, and damage to the scalp,” she continues.

Um, no thanks.

2. Go Deep

A regular deep conditioning treatment is crucial after you dye your hair, says stylist Kyle White.

“To prevent damage, one week after dying your hair, do a deep-conditioning treatment; continue to do so on a weekly basis,” recommends White at Refinery29. “My favorite deep conditioner is coconut oil.”

Because it’s light enough to use regularly, coconut oil will add moisture to your newly dyed hair without adding oil or weight.

Jojoba oil, which is closest to the natural oils of your hair, is a great option for hair masking, too.

“Make a quick mask by adding a drop or two to your regular conditioner to amp up hair’s moisture level and color retention power,” suggests Duron at Prevention.

Whichever natural treatment you decide to try, your hair will thank you for the extra boost.

3. Seek Out Shade

As anyone who dyes their hair for the summer can tell you, a hot summer day is your dye job’s worst enemy.

In addition to wearing a hat or silk scarf while you’re sunbathing, you should also consider a shampoo with more oomph, says Danielle Emig of StyleCaster.

“Bring a shampoo that has UV protection on your vacation,” Emig suggests. “Use one that protects and also repairs damaged hair…[by removing] minerals, chlorine, and salt.”

The UV protection acts like a shield for your delicate tresses – and takes care of any build-up you manage to drag back from the beach, too.

4. Touch-Up Your Color

Nothing spells the end of a dye job faster than roots that show their true colors. Help your color last longer by scheduling an appointment for highlights, says colorist Rachel Bodt.

“Adding soft highlights by either painting or highlighting the ends will cut through the dark and add dimension to the hair so you don’t see the strong line of demarcation,” Bodt told InStyle.

Depending on how you transformed your look with color, creating natural-looking transition colors with highlights or lowlights can make your return to your natural shade that much more graceful.

5. Beat Mineral Build-Up

When you have dyed hair, it seems like danger is everywhere. Sun, shampooing, and styling can all cause hair to fade.

But there’s one danger lurking in your shower you might not have accounted for. To avoid mineral buildup that can cause dye jobs to fade fast, outfit your shower head with a filter.

A clarifying apple cider rinse once a month can also help with mineral build-up, says hair color expert Sharon Dorram.

“The rinse will freshen highlights and boost shine by removing the dulling mineral buildup that’s accumulated on the hair shaft,” Dorram told Prevention.

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to clean the scalp and remove excess oil or product build-up, too – here’s looking at you, dry shampoo users!

6. Nix Heat Tools

Because recently-dyed hair is porous, it absorbs heat more quickly – making it more susceptible to permanent damage.

“Try to avoid using volumizers, mousse, hairsprays, and even gels with high heat for long periods of time,” Dorram explained to New Beauty. “The hair is too vulnerable and easily damaged.”

And, just in case you feel like rolling the dice and taking a chance with your flat iron, you should watch this wild video from colorist Guy Tang before you plug that thing in.

In case you were still harboring doubts, color-extend products can help you breathe life back into dyed hair.

They’re full of natural moisturizers and – if you purchase a color-depositing product – pigments that help you eke the most out of your new color.

But color-extend products aren’t the only thing you should be doing to protect your new look.

Regular deep conditioning treatments, smarter styling, and preventative care will ensure that you look fabulous until you schedule that next appointment with your colorist.

Have you tried a color-extend product to maintain your color? Tell us your verdict in the comments below:

Images: Pixabay, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

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